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Tips to Succeed for First-Year Students

There are many resources for academic assistance and institutional support at Clarion University. You just have to know where to look.  There are many resources available across campus, but Becht Hall will likely be your one stop shop for success.

  • If you’d like help with your writing skills, visit The Writing Center in 312 Becht, where you have access to one-on-one sessions with writing consultants.
  • If you’re looking for a tutor, go to to sign up for a tutor.
  • If you are feeling anxious, depressed, or in need of counseling, visit the Center for Wellness in 256 Becht.
  • If you have a documented disability, visit the Disabilities Support Office in 109 Becht for help getting accommodations.
  • If you have forgotten your password or need other technology help, visit the Help Desk in 107 Becht.
  • If you are enrolled in TRiO Student Support Services (SSS), visit 419 Becht to meet with an Academic Counselor.

Time Management

Transitioning to life in college will bring new freedoms and challenges. For example, you will have more control over your schedule than you did in high school, but you will need to learn how to manage your time effectively. There may be long periods of time in between your classes or days when you do not have any classes at all. Outline a plan for how you will use your down time to study, socialize, and take care of yourself. It’s also a good idea to use a planner to help you organize your time and keep track of important deadlines. Check your planner everyday and update it as new due dates, appointments, and events come up.  A Student Success Coach can help you with time management.


Treat College Like It’s Your Job.

A good tip to help you succeed in college is to treat your classes and study time like a job. This means thinking of them as mandatory, non-negotiable activities you must attend and follow through on. By shifting your mindset to this model, you will develop a daily routine that keeps you on track with completing your homework. By working on your homework and studying a little bit everyday, you will never find yourself overwhelmed when due dates for papers or exams come up. This mindset is related to managing your time and will help you feel a sense of purpose in your daily activities.

Go to Class.

Attending classes every day is a very important part of your success at Clarion University and relates to the tip above. It you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and unable to attend your classes regularly, it’s time to reach out for help and talk with your academic advisor about your schedule. The earlier you notice a problem and the sooner you take action to address it, the better the outcome will be.

Connect with Your Professors.

Don’t be an anonymous student in a large lecture hall; instead, introduce yourself to your professors and instructors. If they know who you are, they’re more likely to know how best to help you succeed and offer their mentorship. Remember, you’ll get the most from your classroom experience if you immerse yourself in the class, which includes talking with your professors. Visit them during their office hours and discuss assignments and coursework throughout the semester. They can be an important resource for you as you tackle your coursework and think about your next steps.

In addition, if you’re experiencing a hardship or having a difficult time understanding something, it’s always best to talk with your professors well in advance of due dates for assignments or exams (not the day before something is due). Professors are human, too, and they will try to help you if possible and as appropriate. But this means you have to help yourself first by reaching out, taking responsibility for your academic performance, and asking for help.

Read Your Syllabi Carefully.

Each course has a syllabus outlining what to expect in the course. The syllabus is like a contract between students and their professors. It’s very important to read each syllabus completely and carefully. You need to know what assignments you’ll be expected to complete as well as when and how to turn them in. There’s no excuse for not being aware of the essential information found in your syllabi.

Check Your Student Email Account Everyday.

Your professors, instructors, and school administrations will contact you as needed through your Eagle Mail student email account. They may send students important information about upcoming due dates, exams, policy changes, or changes in your classes’ schedules. You’ll need to know about these things, so it’s important to check your student email account at least once each day to make sure you don’t miss anything.

When communicating with your professors, instructors, or school officials through email, make sure you’re using good email etiquette. This means you should address them with respect using their proper title (i.e. Dr., Professor, Mr., Mrs., Ms.) and never send anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable telling them in person.

Establish A Community for Yourself.

An important and meaningful part of the college experience is about connecting with others and feeling like you belong to a community. But that doesn’t happen automatically or overnight. You’ve got to make an effort to reach out and get involved. Clarion University has many clubs and activities to help you do this and more! You’ll experience new things, deepen existing passions and interests, and broaden your perspective. Check out Clarion’s recognized student organizations (RSOs) through CU Connect.

Make Time to Recharge.

In addition to studying and connecting with others, don’t forget to connect with yourself and do things you enjoy. As a college student, you’ll encounter challenging coursework and demands on your time and energy. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself and recharge. Schedule some quiet time when you can relax, call a good friend or family member, or work up a sweat in the Recreation Center. Whatever it is that makes you happy and brings you calm, do it!

Remember Education Will Open Many Doors for You.

By enrolling in college, you’ve taken the first step in a long and challenging journey. There will be times that feel difficult, but it’s important to remember you’re doing something that will help you in many ways even after you’ve graduated. This is just the beginning of something big for you.


Adapted from Georgia State University:

Last Updated 9/22/20